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VA Man Stuck In Middle East Expected To Return To U.S.

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Yahya Wehelie, shown here with his wife, is expected to return to the U.S. tomorrow.
Wehelie family
Yahya Wehelie, shown here with his wife, is expected to return to the U.S. tomorrow.

By Kavitha Cardoza

A Somali-American man from Virginia who was on the U.S. no-fly list, leaving him stuck in the Middle East since May 4th, will be allowed to return to the U.S.

Yahya Wehelie, 26, from Burke, Virginia is expected to return to the U.S. tomorrow. And his mother Shamsa Noor says she can hardly believe it.

"I started crying, I couldn't continue talking to him," she says.

Noor sent her son to Yemen almost two years ago to study Arabic and computers, hoping he would get some direction in his life. On a connecting flight back, he was stopped in Egypt and FBI agents questioned him about people he met in Yemen.

Noor says she's apprehensive.

"Until I see with my eyes, and then hug him and kiss him that this is Yahya, then I'll be happy," she says.

Ibrahim Hooper, with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim advocacy group, says he's pleased Wehelie is coming home, but says other Muslims continue to be on the no-fly list.

"We're still concerned about the policy that seems to be one of keeping American Muslims from reentering the country as a pressure tactic, to get individulas to give up their constititutional rights they would otherwise have, if they were in the U.S.," says Hooper.

Yemen has attracted attention in recent months as a hot spot in the war on terror.

A call to the FBI seeking comment was not immediately returned. But in the past they have said in a statement that "recent terror plots against U.S. targets are reminders of the need to remain vigilant."


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